LIberal councillors push for rescission motion over public library funding

Maitland Council chambers
Maitland Council chambers

THREE Liberal councillors have signed and lodged a rescission motion to reverse a mayoral minute on supporting a public library funding. 

The previously backed motion, from Labor mayor Loretta Baker, called for council’s support in joining NSW Public Libraries’ campaign lobbying the state government for funding.

Councillors’ also supported the distribution of library funding advocacy initiative information in council libraries. But councillors Mitchell Griffin, Sally Halliday and Ben Mitchell believe the motion is now redundant. 

In a council document, they said the state government announcement of a  “record increase in $60 million funding boost for NSW Public Libraries … will see per capita funding increase from $1.85 to $2.85, the first such increase in over 20 years.

“We feel that given this increase, there is no need for council resources to be put towards campaigning of a political nature and instead should focus on providing local library services.”

But council’s planning, environment and lifestyle group manager Bernie Mortomore said the council still had a role to play in the campaign.

“Local Government NSW advises that the aim of the program is to work with the government to develop a sustainable future funding model with a view guaranteeing an appropriate level of ongoing and indexed state funding,” he said. 

“In response to council’s resolution, Library staff have erected posters and made reference to the issue on our website, social media and monthly newsletters.

“The proposed increase in funding for the 2019/20 budget is a pre-election commitment and is most welcome.”

The motion will be decided at council’s meeting on Tuesday.